Tracy Talks: Sculpture honors local history
by Anne Marie Fuller
Dec 20, 2013 | 3435 views | 0 0 comments | 177 177 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Notice anything new about the downtown roundabout? A drive on Central Avenue to Sixth Street reveals one of the largest freestanding bronze statues in Northern California, titled “Harvest of Progress.”

Two male figures, joined back to back, stand 16 feet tall. The statue is about 13 feet across,

standing on a pedestal 4 feet tall by 12 feet wide.

On one side, you see a railroad worker, in period uniform, holding a traditional pocket watch and a lantern that lights up after dark. On the opposite side, you see a farmer wearing rolled overalls, a broad-brimmed hat and a work shirt. He carries a sheaf of wheat.

Artist Rowland Cheney, of Clements, said he delved into Tracy’s past for inspiration beginning in 2010.

“I am really thrilled with this,” Cheney said. “The railroad worker and farmer made this community and has helped it grow. When I recently drove up Central Avenue and saw it standing there, I thought, it’s perfect and it fits just as envisioned.”

Three years ago, the City Council directed Tracy Arts Commission to explore designs for public artwork at the center of the downtown roundabout. I remember being part of that process as an arts commissioner and seeing a 16-inch clay model of Cheney’s sculpture. I was intrigued by the working lantern element and thought the figures would honor our town’s history.

On Tuesday, Dec. 17, “Harvest of Progress” was officially dedicated during an afternoon ceremony.

“People have a sense of accomplishment seeing this sculpture, which honors the history of our community,” said William Wilson, cultural arts manager at the nearby Grand Theatre Center for the Arts. “For the past three years, there has been overwhelming positive response for this.”

• Anne Marie Fuller, National Mrs. Beauties of the Nation and Mrs. California BOTN, is a Tracy arts commissioner and host of the Channel 26 television show “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie.” Contact her at annemarie@columnist.com.

 
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